Saturday, February 10


Lumen de Lumine?

I found myself watching Nova some months back, and they had a documentary on the atom full of the hazy historical reconstructions PBS is so fond of--Einstein sitting in his patent office, dreaming; Émilie du Châtelet looking quaintly lovely and brilliant while reading Leibniz and getting fitted out for an eighteenth-century wig, savants scribbling on chalkboards full of the higher mysteries of science.

And a thought occurred to me as the narrator expounded on Einstein's theories--which may or may not be up-to-date with all the quarks and string theory which abounds at present and is more opaque to me than the disembodied begats, aeons and melons of Gnostic cosmology--but he pointed out that for Einstein, time was not a constant. It slowed or speeded up depending on light, and it was that light that ultimately was the single constant across the universe. Probably a ferociously simplified view of the real esoterica behind the theories, yes, but it occurred to me that if time is indeed as flexible as it apparently seems under the stresses of higher physics, then we must conclude time isn't merely a human measurement used to map out an apparently uninterested and timeless universe. Time is a thing, an element of our world--it drips, slows, speeds up, flows at different speeds, a real quality of the universe independent of our observation rather than seeming a convenience laid on top of a timeless cosmos. In other words, time is a thing rather than a manmade measurement, I suppose, and therefore by taking away that thing, we can imagine a place where there is no time, or eternity.

It is dangerous to theologize too much from science, especially late at night or when one has just gotten up in the morning, and especially since science changes her mind every five seconds, but it is interesting to see this bit of it confirm the Faith. And, in terms of a universe that contains traces of the Trinity, what better than a world where the constant is light, truly an earthly reflection of Christ's glory? Science's continual evolution has always confirmed some aspect of God's inner life in some small way--Aristotle's cosmos to God's orderliness and loving perfection, Newton's clockwork universe, while perhaps a Deist paradise, speaks to the clarity and perfection of the Creator, and now, our own darker and confusing world, to the tohu bohu of Genesis and the mysteries of the Divine Will. Every age has tunnelled deeper and deeper into the wonders of the Universe and found more and more complexity. I can't help wondering if God set that up like a big box of puzzles to keep us busy and for us to forever be stunned and amazed at the depth of His creative power and might.

Just a thought. If I'm wrong, it's not the end of Time or the world.

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